Rothenburg ob der Tauber
(August 2, 2009)
Rothenburg (pronounced Ro-ten-burg) ob der Tauber is a Renaissance town located about 1.5 hours from Stuttgart. Rothenburg escaped the bombing of WWII and therefore remains one of the well-preserved walled towns of Germany. It is listed as on Trip Advisor as one of the “Top 100 Destinations in the World” and one of the “Top 25 Destinations in Europe.” It is known for both its beautiful architecture and its shopping opportunity. Rothenburg is filled with hotels, restaurants, and Christmas shops. You can also find in Rothenburg St. Jacob’s church, the Medieval Crime and Punishment Museum, and the castle gardens.
On Sunday we drove to Rothenburg and parked outside the city’s wall. Our first destination in Rothenberg was St. Jacob’s Church.
St. Jacob’s Church
St. Jacob’s Church is famous for its 500-year-old carving of the last supper by the famous Würzburg sculptor Tilman Riemenschneider. In this scene of the last supper Jesus is seen giving Judas bread to mark his as the traitor. The carving has Judas set in the center however for Easter every year it is removed! Also located at the top of the carving is a drop of Holy Blood encased in rock crystal.
After visiting St. Jacob’s Church we were ready for lunch. We walked through the city to the main plaza, also the location of the city’s famous clock tower. The clock tower retells hourly the legend of Rothenberg.
The Legend of Rothenburg
The Legend of Rothenburg is that in 1631, during the 30 Years War, Catholics besieged the town. In order to save the town the mayor pleaded with the Catholic General that if he were able to drink a 3L tankard of wine, in one gulp, that they would leave the town. The Catholic General agreed and Rothenburg’s Mayor stepped up to the challenge. He drank the 3L tankard in one gulp and saved the town! A couple of times every day the clock tower recreates the scene when Mayor Nusch saved Rothenburg. Once a day the legend is even reenacted in person! Even though the legend is quite ingenious it was created in the 1850’s or roughly 200 years after the 30 Years War. However don’t let this piece of knowledge detract from the entertaining story.
After lunch at the town’s plaza we headed off to do some shopping and to see the Medieval Crime and Punishment Museum.
The Medieval Crime and Punishment Museum
The Medieval Crime and Punishment Museum is known throughout Germany as one of the best museums of its kind. It has a large collection of the torture instruments and describes in great detail what punishment you could expect for any type of crime. It is a very grisly museum filled with lots of interesting torture instruments including shame masks, stretching racks and execution tools.
After having our fill of medieval torture instruments and execution we decided to take a break from all the blood and guts to walk around the castle gardens. The castle gardens are located on the location of the former Rothenburg Castle. They are beautiful and a nice way to end a trip to Rothenburg. After the castle gardens we ate some ice cream and headed home.